Why don't all ships have docking rings?

Now, I know that the real reason for this is that when artists are designing the ships they just don’t think about it, but what I’m wondering about is how to explain it narratively and how to adjust for it in-game.

At the moment I have been on a bit of a ship deck-plan binge and I’ve noticed that many ships appear to have no way of docking in space. The Millennium Falcon obviously does (a docking ring at the port and starboard, a smaller one at the top which is hard to see from the outside and presumably another matching one at the bottom). But take the G9 Rigger, for example; a similar light freighter but it only seems to have a large cargo door at the rear and the entry ramp underneath, neither of which seems like it could connect to another ship without letting all of the air out (a slight design flaw).

So, if a G9 picked up a distress call and responded, only to find another G9 with its main reactor down, what would they do? They don’t have a tractor beam to tow it, they can’t dock. What would they do?

At the moment I’m leaning towards the type of shields you see in the Death Star when the Falcon is brought in to the docking bay. The ship just passes through the shield without resistance, but the atmosphere is kept inside the bay. So back to the G9 rescue mission; if the two ships align nose-to-nose, the working ship can project that kind of shield to hold atmosphere between the ships and then they can safely both open their ramps, allowing crew to move between them without the need to dock. Does this make sense? Am I missing anything?

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I think it’s probably best to just handwave in a docking ring. Maybe hidden under a panel on top, that you can flip up/slide back to show an extendable docking ring. Then indoors you just flip down a ceiling panel, extend a ladder, and press a button to open the panel on top and extend the tube out.

It won’t appear on any of the deck plans, but they’re almost all unofficial anyway, so it’s not like you’re breaking canon.



I’d agree. Just throw in docking access that’s convenient. Above or next to the cargo bay or a corridor somewhere…

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Add it if you need one.
It could be the company that made expected it to land in other craft versus being attached through Space, or not a vehicle where interactions in space would happen often. If the designers felt their customers would use that feature then they wouldn’t include it to keep cost down.

The way I’ve explained this narratively is asking the questions: What was the intended purpose of the ship, and would that purpose necessitate a docking ring in the design? Does the quality of the ship imply that a docking ring would be present?
Now some ships have canonical (or found in legends) reasoning for the design of the ship. For those that don’t, I tend to look at the deck plan and what the stats and capabilities of the ship are.

For instance the G9 rigger has a large cargo door at the back, and these types of doors aren’t regularly seen on this size of ship. This leads me to believe that the G9 rigger was initially designed to be used in salvaging operations or transport of large freight. When you look at the defensive capabilities of the G9 rigger it can be noted that there is a decent amount of firepower, this furthers my thought of it being intended for salvage operations, perhaps in recent combat zones. This may lead to the opinion that it could very well be equipped with a docking ring, as to take on survivors from wreckage.
However the very low cost of the G9 rigger, the poor hyperdrive class 3, and the poor handling, leads me to believe a lot of corners were cut with this design, and perhaps to save on manufacturing costs a docking ring was not in the initial design.

The G9 rigger does have a canonical docking ring if I remember correctly, or at least the Twilight (G9 Rigger found in the Clone Wars series) does as it is seen docked on the outside of the Malevolence with a implied docking ring on the ventral side. This could have been an aftermarket add on or be part of the original design, this is up to you as the GM. Though it is important to keep in mind that outside of professional operations, most ships in Star Wars tend to be modified past stock capabilities, and not many ships are bought new from the manufacturer. A lot of ships see many owners in their lifetimes, each one adding or removing small things to the ship giving each ship a bit of character.


So pirates can dock and board it for… ACTION reasons :smile: